Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It was neither night nor day.
A rise of rabbits in dusty crates girded the shore:
Lostland driftwood vigil, mute and gray.
I swung barefoot, sweeping the straw air.
The breeze was warm, but the earth was cold.
My glass-eye agape, I spun gold sand through my hands
To green fields that opened, stretching up
Past salt-spit stones to faraway pale,
Where the lilac lilted out,
Spilling crepe trumpets,
Violet tumbled glacéed notes.

Skirt-tucked, I wished to run to the fragrant blooms,
But first I had to unbox my shoes,
Lacing grommets over canvas tongues.
When done, I rose, but she was gone.
Instead a hundred folks spackled over the field,
Bent on writing their own cribbed words,
Troubling rocks, cuckooing through rills~~
Versifying the earth.

Before long, a town grew up yellow and brown
And I was looking for you in flat places,
where you might have pressed through:
buttons & books         badges & signs
Inhaling your name off the pavement,
Querying letterboxes with my palms.

Heat-seeking, I had come to the end of the world.
I found a clear pool
Where a little girl held a turtle,
Black with carmine-etched lines.
She’d let it swim a few strokes ahead,
Then catch it and laugh as its legs pulsed in vain.

While thousands of miles away
The speckled olive damask of the Pike
Moved unseen below the ice,
Waiting, waiting . . . .


  1. The prose source from a journal entry:
    I dreamt last night that I came to Australia. There were lots of rabbits in dusty crates. I was near the ocean and barefoot, but it was neither day nor night. The breeze was warm, but the earth was cold. I saw an open lush field, which had a burgeoning pale lilac bush at the end of it. I wanted to run to it, but I went to my room to put on shoes first. When I came back out, the field was filled with people bent over notebooks, scribbling as someone recited poetry. There was no way I could fight the crowds to get to that lilac. I pushed my way through anyway, looking for you and wondering if my cell phone would work and if I had your number.

    I came to a town with tall yellow and brown buildings. In a clear pool in the center of town, a little girl held a shiny black turtle etched with bright red lines. She would release it and let it slowly swim a bit and then catch it and laugh as its legs flapped vainly.

  2. What a dream, MJ, and what a poem. I just hush in stillness in response to your work. Truly you have a gift that tears at me and heals at the same time. This is extraordinary. Of course I felt the surrealness of the dream in the poem, but didn't know it was a dream for sure, so the journal entry is informative. Your language is always gorgeous, and your ability to release it is a mysterious and lyrical blessing. Lush and breathtaking.

    1. Thank you so much, Ruth. I posted this from a draft on Word, not realizing that I had tagged on the prose section. As I read the journal entry, I felt unsure of which version I preferred as there was such an easy flow to the prose and, in comparison, the poem felt a bit overwrought. And then the ending . . . I want the Pike lurking under the ice, but I want some other word besides "waiting" to close. I could not come up with it. Lurking was too sinister. Swimming felt dull. Anyway, I hope it worked as a contrast to what came before or an addition to all that is elusive.

  3. I think "waiting, waiting . . . " works, but something else might come to you in time (as you wait, wait for it). Maybe a word related to the "speckled olive."

  4. nice...esp. love the part with the little girl and the turtle at the end of the world.. the only thing that feels sad is that she catches it again..